Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Mother Hen

Perhaps it was an inevitability of my genetic make-up, or perhaps I need to get out more, but it seems that I am turning into Mother Hen.

Ironically it is almost certainly to do with my career, which enables me to work from home, unchecked and totally free to be Mother.

But, despite my love of kittens and determination to avoid being Bridget, I never saw myself as the Mother Hen type. Idle by nature, and slovenly by choice, I love the word slut when used to describe a woman who leaves the washing up and wears yesterday’s make-up.

I’ve always rather relished in my filth, feeling that my reckless attitude to hygiene and order reflected my freedom from convention and my abandonment of the rules. Admittedly, I do have a habit of reading too much into things.

But lately, I have been talking about myself in the third person to the kittens. Bad enough to do this, but my self is now known as “Mummy”. Worse still, I have introduced the concept of “Daddy. “Mummy’s just making some Chilli for Daddy’s tea.” I actually said to them yesterday, at 11.30am, as I prepared the evening meal, knowing I would be back late from my meeting in London. “Well, we can’t have Daddy going hungry now, can we?” I remarked to the kittens.

So, here I am. I am “Mummy”; a woman who cooks meals for Daddy in advance and stores them in Tupperware.


The danger is, of course, that playing Mother Hen, will backfire. I work from home, so I get to stay in bed later than most, play with kittens all day, and look after the housework and cooking during daylight hours, rather than on My Time. So, naturally I don’t mind doing the lion’s share. In fact, oddly enough, I’ve found myself rather enjoying it. It's probably the same pleasure that we get from playing house in pigtails and velcro-fastened shoes.

Since my boyfriend has moved in he has washed up three times, which is very nice of him. But I have cleaned weekly, done all the washing, cooked every meal bar two, mopped, Hoovered, and dusted. I even made him put his clothes away last week, which were washed and neatly folded on the side. Soon, will he call me “Mummy” too?

Returning to the potential backfire, the danger as I see it is two-fold. Firstly, if I ever work outside the home again (one can hope not, but given that I spend most of my working hours writing blogs, facebook-stalking and playing Mother Hen, who knows?) my boyfriend will be distinctly unprepared to live in an equal house. He probably doesn’t even know that the shine in the bathroom isn’t natural.

Secondly, my role as Mother Hen may come to define me, enveloping and greedily digesting my other roles (sexy minx, slovenly slut, armchair philosopher, drunk). In fact, it is this second manifestation of danger that reared its head for the first time this morning. My boyfriend had got me a present. “I’ve got you a present” He said. He reached into his bag and revealed 100 bin bags. “Tie-handle, heavy duty, just like you said you needed.”

I’m going to get a new Hoover for Christmas, aren’t I? Emmeline would turn in her grave.


  1. As the girl who instigated the tea-bag throwing competition during second-year living-out hell ('why throw them straight in the bin? Much more fun to see what you can hit with them') I don't think you have a lot to worry about...